Cast Away – a Virgin?

May 31, 2010 at 9:14 pm 2 comments

I gave a talk at Vancouver Film School last week and was very inspired by the students.  One asked if Cast Away would be a Virgin story.  I had to think about that.  I asked what the message of the movie was and we decided it was about choosing your use of time.  Time is a value.  I never thought about that before.  And the Virgin is all about choosing her values which are different from the values of her community.  So YES! Castaway would be a Virgin movie in that he learned his true values separate from the values of a delivery business.Cast Away is also a really graphic example of how the Virgin is about exploring your relationship with yourself.  He was alone on a desserted island and projected himself onto Wilson for company.  He managed to survive against incredible odds but sunk into despair when he lost Wilson.  He became detached from his realtionship with himself.  Later he is reunited with his true love and she is married with children.  But he is ok because he has learned that you just keep breathing and stay open to the possibility of what the ocean might wash onshore.  He learned as long as he has his relationship with himself he can greet the crossroads of life with an open heart.

The Hero has the masculine journey to develop a realtionship with himself by learning to physically survive on his own. Cast Away has elements of the Hero’s journey as well, but the really interesting focus of the movie was how he related to his inner world.

This bring up the question of ultimately how many archetypal structures are there.  Joesph Campbell said there is only one.  I have introduced another, the feminine counterpart to the Hero.

I’m going to go way out on a limb and suggest that there are 3 universal themes in the human condition:  Relationship to your self (Hero and the Virgin), realtionship to others (Mother/Goddess and Lover/King) and realtionship to the cosmos (Crone and Mentor).

Can anyone think of a good movie that isn’t ultimately about one of these three themes?

Entry filed under: Archetype theory, Film Summaries. Tags: , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lorne Agnew  |  June 1, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Kim: Interesting theory re Castaway. But the questions I have are about how your three suggested universal themes about relationships may be connected:
    1) In your view, do – or should – movies focus on one of these themes rather than two or three?
    2) Do you think there is a hierarchy of themes, with the mentor “higher” on the scale than the hero?
    3) Are you implying there is also a human developmental process involved here and thus value in a person working on the three “relationships?
    Thanks, Kim: Thoughtful blog!
    Lorne Agnew

  • 2. thevirginspromise  |  June 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Great questions Lorne.
    1) There is a lot of latitude. Any combination could be well done. Sometimes people make the mistake of starting out as a Virgin movie and have the resolution as learning to have a realtionship with another (a Mother/Goddess or Lover/King movie) with a bunch of beats missing in the middle – that’s not so strong, structurally.

    2) No, they are all important and can happen at any stage of life. Characters can repeatedly be Heroes and Virgins as well, with different circumstances. This is really good for people wanting to do sequels…

    3) That depends on what kind a person you are – how deeply you like to think about these things. Personally, I think we have these instincts for archetypal stories because they give us some guidance on how to proceed in life.

    Thanks for the questions Lorne!


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